Part 3 is a deep dive discussion on the character of Asuka, who stands in perfectly as a microcosm of the series as a whole. Asuka originally appears in episode 8 and is introduced as a shrewish cliché with a lot of problematic elements. But by the end of the series, she is one of the show’s most compelling characters: an arrogant, unlikable, unstable adolescent girl full of self-loathing acting out on severe unresolved childhood trauma.
We hit upon the fact that how close you are to the age of the adolescent main characters of the series definitely shapes your perception of the series. In particular, the protagonist Shinji Ikari, who is about as far from your standard action/adventure hero as one can get. Shinji is wishy-washy, uncertain, depressive, confused, and generally passive, i.e. a very realistic portrayal of a traumatized adolescent in an extreme situation. But a realistic portrayal of adolescence at its worst is not necessarily what you want to see when you’re in the middle of it.
Content warning: depression, PTSD, suicide